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Florida Friday; the Great 2012 Florida Trip Part 1 the Sunshine Skyway Bridge

Throughout my entire life I've had interactions with the state of Florida.  I had family around the Pensacola and Tampa areas, our family took trips down to the state from the Mid-West to theme parks in the 1980s/90s, and of course there was racing as well.  Back in late 2012 the economy was still hurting in Arizona and I was getting ready to make the move to Florida.  Before I moved to Florida, I took a long trip to the southern half of the state to get a lay of the land which is what this blog is about.  I have a ton of stuff sitting in albums from 2012 to 2016 which I figure would make for a decent Friday topic, or "Florida Friday."

Upon arriving in Florida I wanted to go out and see some of the sites that I wanted to always check out on the road.  The first was the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay which carries US 19/I-275.


The current Skyway Bridge is a 4.14 mile cable stayed design which opened in 1987.  The new Skyway Bridge is 430 feet tall in the center span with a 180 foot clearance for ships to pass through.





The original Skyway Bridge opened in 1954 which extended US 19 across Tampa Bay from St. Petersburg to US 41 in Memphis.   The original Skyway Bridge was a two-lane cantilever design which was expanded upon when a second span opened directly west of it in 1971 to upgrade it Interstate standards.  By 1973 I-275 was multiplexed over the original Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay.  In 1980 a freighter hit the 1971 bridge which was serving southbound US 19/I-275 traffic which resulted in 35 people being killed when the structure fell into the waters of Tampa Bay.  By 1993 six years after the new Skyway Bridge was completed the 1954 and 1971 spans were partially demolished.  Parts of the 1954 and 1971 spans of the old Skyway Bridge are now part of the Sunshine Skyway Fishing Piers on both ends of Tampa Bay.

I stopped at the southern piers to check out the 1954 and 1971 bridge structures which is where I took my photos of the new span from.







Despite the Skyway Bridge being a toll road there is plenty of reassurance shields about reminding you that you are on US 19/I-275.



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